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    Posted January 27, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ukraine unrest

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    Canada is ready to host refugees from Ukraine


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Journalist Andrey Vasiliev sat down with Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, to talk about Canada’s stance on the protests in Ukraine. In the interview, the minister talks about Canada’s willingness to accept refugees from Ukraine, as well as the Canada’s stance against the use of force against peaceful demonstrations. This interview was conducted on January 23, which was several days before Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government resigned Tuesday, January 28.

    Related: Ukraine through a protester's eyes
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    TORONTO, CANADA - 27 JANUARY, CNN iReport - Canada will “do the right things” when people who have been prosecuted approach to it for protection, said Chris Alexander, Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Our correspondent met with the Minister and talked about the situation in Ukraine


    Andrey VASILIEV, journalist: There is a position that any dialog between the regime and the citizens will not work without the pressure from western politics. Do you think Ukraine still has a chance to resolve the situation by its own?


    Chris ALEXANDER, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister: The solutions will be found by Ukrainians for their country. We will always respect the suverinete the independent Ukraine. But in cases like that it does matter who speaks out, it does matter what friends say outside, it does matter that we have a coordinated approach with Washington, with Brussels, with other European countries.


    The other question is if the Ukrainian neighbour to the East allows Ukrainians to negotiate and to decide these things. We would hate to think that anyone in President Putin’s government in Moscow welcomes violence, welcomes the fact that the Ukrainian regime, that they have supported that strongly, has now fired upon and killed some of its own unarmed protestors.


    That would be unwelcomed development if we had that kind of reaction: support for the use of force, support for violence from Moscow. And we would urge our Russian partners to leave this discussion to Ukrainians, to open the door to negotiation and to avoid the escalation of the situation that has already begun.


    Andrey VASILIEV: Canada was one of the first countries that called to action and declared a chance of visa restrictions and individual financial sanctions implementations against Ukrainian politicians, responsible for the violations of human rights and freedoms. Mr.Baird has been in Kiev and personally observed the situation in the beginning of December, 2013. That visit did not lead to any additional steps from official Canada and was not supported by new declarations from Canada’s government. Why was that? Did any change of Canadian position have place?


    Chris ALEXANDER: Our position absolutely has not changed. We are in favour of democratic future for Ukraine we are in favour of its integration into a larger global economy, which for Ukraine means the larger European economy. We wanted to see negotiations on Association agreement succeed and they have not. And as a result we have been defended the rights of protesters to stay peacefully their view.


    And we have counted on those protest remaining peaceful on their rights being respected. As after tonight it has not been respected, as after tonight they have been violent on the significant scale and so Canada will be looking now, at all the options available for us in these new circumstances.


    We already have laws that make those people who have committed acts that would be crimes in Canada who have committed atrocities or war crimes inadmissible to this country. They are inadmissible to this country.
    We will look at all options available to us to respond appropriately to this events and to ensure that those responsible face concrete tangible consequences.


    All Canadians feel the pain and share the pain that Ukrainians are experiencing tonight. It is a dark night for us as it is for all of Ukrainian. When innocent people, innocent protesters lose their lives.


    We are deeply concerned about this turn towards violence, we have been supporting the right to peaceful assembling, the right to peaceful protest by those who want better future for Ukraine.


    Andrey VASILIEV: The US Senate has approved a resolution that specifies stronger measures against Ukraine and threatened with coming sanctions. Has Canadian Parliament had any consultations or discussions about the case of raising violent conflict in Ukraine?


    Chris ALEXANDER: ...for Canada Ukraine is a privilege partner, a country with which we have a special relationship, because of a share history.


    We will take a very-very careful account of what has happened on the ground, who is responsible before deciding what the next steps Canada itself will take. In the meantime, all of the options are on table and the consultations taking here are intense and in a wide range.


    Andrey VASILIEV: Around 4% of Canadians have Ukrainian background or Ukrainian citizenship. Does Canada have any plans of changing the immigration policies for them or those Ukrainians who would try to apply for a legal status in Canadian provinces due to the political events in Kiev?


    Chris ALEXANDER: We are prepared to welcome people as refugees under our very generous and now reformed determination system. Ukraine is always in our thoughts when it comes to immigration issues in Canada.


    And yes, we will do the right things when people who have been prosecuted approach us for protection.


    Journalist: Andrey Vasiliev
    Producer: Olga Mozkova


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